What a crazy weekend for the weather! Part of me feels bad that I missed running in the snow on Saturday morning, but then part of me is glad I stayed in bed. After all, there's plenty more where that came from, and plenty more chances to run in the snow.
Actually, I like running in the snow. Not the kind that piles up and makes things slippery, just the lightly falling stuff that coats the road a little bit and crunches under my feet. That's fun.
The conditions the last few days have been quite an adjustment, haven't they? After spending the last few months trying to figure out what we need to do to stay cool, now we are all of the sudden looking for ways to keep warm.
I don't mind the cold as much, it's the wind that gets to me. It was pretty breezy on Friday afternoon when I went out for a 3.1-mile run, and I struggled finding a pace as the wind was swirling around quite a bit. One minute it was at my back, the other it was in my face. And man, was that wind cold!
Of course, that was partly my fault because I didn't dress accordingly. The area around my house is generally well protected from the wind, and it feels one way, but once I get out on the path along Bartlett Road it's a bit of a different story. When I walked out of the house I felt like in a shirt and shorts I'd be OK, but I guess my blood is still a little thick from the summer because I never got comfortable.
I kept that in mind when I headed out on Sunday and wore a quarter-zip on top of my shirt, which was much, much better. I'm calling it a "sort of" long run because with so many people at the tail end of training for the Chicago Marathon -- or in heavy training for another fall marathon -- I feel almost bad calling a 6-miler a for-real "long run".
I usually drive down to the trail at Hawk Hollow, but instead I ran down there from home as it is just over a mile, so with the 3.8-mile trail and the 2.2-mile commute it comes to right about six. I struggled again to find a good pace over the first mile or so...for some reason, that's just been an issue for me lately. Usually I'm pretty good with pacing but that has deserted me a bit as of late. It doesn't seem to be anything to worry about, it will probably get better the more I run consistently.
Once I made it to the path (about a mile in) I was feeling pretty good. It's just amazing how much better a non-pavement trail feels on your legs. I'm going to try and get on that path and some of the others around here as much as possible because my experience with the CARA group in Wheaton last year made me a big believer in soft surfaces.
I've always know they were better, I just didn't spend a lot of time on them in the past. But over the course of marathon training I'm guessing I did well over 50 percent of my training on soft surfaces, and I didn't experience as much knee and shin pain as I had in the past when I would run a lot on pavement. Our long runs on the paths were really smooth and I think the fact I trained off pavement so much was how I got through the training cycle and to the starting line with very few problems. So needless to say it will be a big part of what I do in the future.
What's funny is when I finished the stretch on the trail and went back to the pavement just how quickly my legs started to fatigue. That or it happened because I was 5-miles into the run! :--) Still, I made it to the end and felt pretty good the entire time. I don't have a watch but I'm guessing I ran at around 11 minutes per mile, maybe a little better than that, which is fine for now. I also didn't feel sore Sunday night or Monday, which is a positive too.
I'm a big believer in long runs and hope to get to 8-10 miles soon. That means I can also stretch a midweek run into the 6-7 mile range. I loved the days when I could go out and run an "easy" 10 miles and I think about how nice it would be to do that again. Guess I just have to keep working at it.